How Over-the-Counter Pain Medications Can Be Bad

Treat the Condition, not the Symptom

A 2005 study, detailed in 2011 by Consumer Reports and covered in turn by the Washington Post, explores the overuse in the United States of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs – such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen – are the active ingredients in common over-the-counter pain medications.

Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and other over-the-counter medications are often used to provide pain relief. Long-lasting pain management, though, means treating the condition rather than treating its symptoms via overuse of these drugs. Chronic pain needs to be approached at its root – what is causing the pain – to effect real recovery and sustainable alleviation of knee pain, back pain, nerve pain, or headaches. An integrative combination of Western medical techniques, chiropractic care, and physical therapy allows patients to stop masking pain and return to a fulfilling, more functional lifestyle.

NSAID Overuse Statistics

NSAIDs are designed for acute treatment of arthritis, fevers, and other physical pain. However, they are used by many to treat chronic pain. In fact, The Consumer Reports piece “Best Buy Drugs” (1) reveals that in 2011, 70 million prescriptions were being filled annually for this type of medication. That figure doesn’t even account for over-the-counter pain relief medications. What is more disconcerting is that one in four people who use over-the-counter solutions to treat their pain on a daily basis take higher than the recommended dosage.

Overuse of these medications can be dangerous. Pain relief bottles typically include language instructing that use for more than ten days at a time should be overseen by a physician. Side effects from prolonged or regular use of NSAIDs include damage to the kidneys and stomach ulcers. According to the Post article “NSAIDS Naproxen Pain Relievers” (2) between 5 and 10 percent of NSAID users experience bleeding or ulcers each year.

A Customized Pain Management Program

We are all looking for that quick fix, but a well-planned pain management care program allows a broad spectrum of treatment options that work. Knee pain, back pain, and headaches do not need to be treated with over-the-counter medications. Proper diagnosis paves the way for a long-term solution. It can identify the underlying causes of pain and allow for the creation of a proper pain management plan with integration of traditional Western medicinal intervention, chiropractic treatment, and physical therapy.

At the Atlanta Medical Clinic, our goal is sustained relief of pain in each of our patients. We find that a tailored treatment program works best to meet the needs of every individual who entrusts us for care. If you are interested in managing your pain with an integrative approach, call us now to set up a consultation with a physician who can help set you on the road to recovery.








Tips to Improve Sleep & Manage Pain

sleeping with neck painSleep is an essential part of healing and managing pain. We need to get enough to function properly (8 hours), but quality sleep is most important. When we sleep our bodies are healing and repairing the damage done from the stress of the day, and naturally during this healing process our bodies need optimum circumstances. Everyone’s body is different, some positions will benefit others and some will hinder them depending on the aliment.

“Sleep allows us to rejuvenate the proteins in our body, in fact, rest helps with increasing the pain threshold of the body…if you have a particular back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain or hip pain then quality sleep will help you.” says Dr. Dembowski.

Many people can find sleeping during the night difficult. But there are always ways in which it can be improved. Some listen to the sound of rain while sleeping, as it helps calm them down and transports them to places such as the beach or holidays. Others people may like sleeping with a fan or air conditioning to keep them cool throughout the night. Someone I know use to have such a hard time going to sleep that he would always sleep with the air conditioning on. Unfortunately for him, the one time that he needed the fan for more than sleep (to keep him cool during a heat wave), the air conditioning stopped working. While he looked into finding a company would could deal with an air conditioning replacement, he had to use the small fan that was hidden away in the cupboard for months. For him, it wasn’t as effective, but he did manage to get a few good night’s sleep. You just need to try and find out what works best for you and your sleeping arrangements.

The three major sleeping positions are side, back, and stomach. Around 57% of people sleep on their side, according to a nationwide survey of over 2,000 people conducted by Tempur-Pedic North America. Lying on the back is the second most popular, with around 17% of people; followed by the stomach at 11% and the rest is varying positions throughout the night. Each position has variations, benefits and drawbacks. Make sure your sleeping position is correct for the area that is causing you the most pain.

If you suffer from…

Shoulder Pain: Try to avoid sleeping on your side if you have shoulder pain, the best position is on the back or on the opposite side of the hurt shoulder. Also place a pillow under the arm to support the shoulder.

Neck Pain: For neck pain try and keep the neck supported in a neutral position with a pillow above the shoulders, too many pillows may put the neck in a bent position. That can put stress on the vertebrae and cause damage to the disc. When dealing with neck pain avoid sleeping on the stomach.

Back Pain: To reduce back pain experts suggest sleeping on the back with a rolled up towel or pillow under the knees and under the small of the back. If you are sleeping on your side place a pillow between the knees for added support, and to aid the hips and knees.

Knee Pain & Hip Pain: Sleeping in the side or fetal position with a pillow between the knees can reduce pressure on the knees and hips, also if lying on the back place a pillow below the small of the back and under the knees to help alleviate pain.

Snoring / Sleep Apnea: Try to keep off your back, sleep on your side or stomach to reduced the threat of tongue collapsing or the relaxation of tissues in the throat which can hinder breathing.

Acid Reflex: Sleeping on the side is best for acid reflex most experts recommend sleeping on the left side. Sleeping on the back is not ideal for acid reflex but it can help alleviate symptoms if the head is propped up.

For those with sleeping problems it is not recommended to sleep on the stomach as it can cause back and neck pain. Use these helpful tips to find out your ideal sleeping position, but be sure to change it up once and a while as sleeping in the same position to often can cause problems. If these tips do not help you with your symptoms then contact our clinic for a free consultation. You may need medical attention to relieve the inflamed areas of the body and help you get a good night sleep.


1.) Journal of Sleep Vol. 35:12 (2012)




Why Your Diet Is the First Place to Look to Reduce Pain?

Dietary modifications for Pain Management

As experts in pain management, we focus on empowering our patients so that they can conquer this often debilitating health problem from all sides. One major way to target pain and reduce it is through diet. Often individuals look for specific nutrients and supplements to help certain health conditions – as with an osteoarthritis diet. Let’s look first at testing for allergies and how that can help, then at foods that generally help to contain swelling and  hence can help all pain situations. Finally, we can zero in on specific foods to help with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Common food allergies & pain

As Dr. Susanne Bennett emphasizes in a article published by the Huffingtonpost (1), we tend to think in terms of food allergies as anaphylactic shock or vomiting, but smaller allergies can express themselves as minor headaches or stomachaches. Specific allergy testing of common food allergies, sensitivities, and gluten intolerance provides a better framework to approach individual pain management through diet.

An anti-inflammatory fruit

One food noted generally for its anti-inflammatory properties is the cherry. Cherries contain anthocyanins – as do raspberries and strawberries to lesser degrees. The ideal dose is not yet known because tests have not been conducted on humans, but recent Michigan State University research (2) suggests that these flavonoids can reduce swelling similarly to aspirin.

Ginger and coffee for pain reduction

Ginger and coffee have also been found to possibly reduce pain. Each was given to subjects in studies prior to intense physical exercise, versus groups given a placebo. The effect of coffee in pain reduction was verified one hour later, during exercise. Amazingly, the effect of the ginger was measured 24 hours later – its impact was confirmed by testimonies of each group at that time.

Helpful for Rheumatoid Arthritis & Osteoarthritis

Vitamin D — high in salmon, sardines, mushrooms, and egg yolks – can help both to reduce arthritic symptoms and to prevent these disorders to develop in the first place.  Consider adding multivitamins and omega-3 fatty acids as supplements. Those with osteoarthritis specifically should also consider taking glucosamine with chondroitin (which is off-limits for those with shellfish allergies) and SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine). A supplement to target rheumatoid arthritis is GLA (gamma-linolenic acid).


If you are experiencing chronic pain, try cherry, ginger, coffee, and vitamin D. For those suffering from arthritis, the rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis diet and supplement tips will aid in relief. If you have not been able to determine the source of your pain, an individual allergy test could reveal food allergies as the culprit. Need further assistance with integrative pain alleviation? Contact us anytime for help.












How to Prevent a Total Knee Replacement

Knee Pain Treatment Atlanta

When your knee or any joint in your body is suffering from osteoarthritis, it’s important to remember that preventative techniques still apply. In other words, by treating your injury/symptoms wisely and conscientiously, you can keep it from growing in severity and requiring more extreme forms of interaction. In the case of knee pain treatment, combining two modalities – knee injections and physical therapy – can often be effective at preventing the need for total knee replacement surgery.


Naturally Derived Knee Injections

At the Atlanta Medical Clinic, we prefer not to inject our patients with drugs. We believe that a more natural approach provides more effective long-range results; real treatment and recuperation as opposed to just a reduction in pain. We also believe naturally sourced injections are safer for the body, especially when undergoing a physical therapy strategy that carefully and sustainably stabilizes the body to its fullest possible functionality. Our knee pain treatment protocol utilizes a substances called Hyalgan, which is injected directly into the knee joint. Hyalgan is so safe that it can be regularly administered for as long as 2 1/2 years. Its effectiveness is clinically proven to reduce knee pain for up to six months.


How Hyalgan Works

Medical drugs take their cues from body chemistry. The chemical components of a prescribed medication are effective to the extent that they reflect basic biophysical principles; Otherwise they will be rejected by the body. Knee pain treatment by Hyalgan injection uses the same basic approach as a medication but takes it a step further. Hyalgan is not just accepted by the body. It is made up primarily of a chemical that is already part of the body.

Hyalgan’s core ingredient, hyaluronan, lubricates and cushions the knee joint. Found in high volumes in the tissues of the joints and in their synovial fluid, hyaluronan works amazingly well for knee injections because what you are doing is adding greater quantities of the natural chemical your body already uses to protect the knee.


Physical Therapy

The other crucial component of knee pain treatment for relief of the symptoms of osteoarthritis is physical therapy. Physical therapy is important for several reasons:

  • Ensuring that muscles and other physical fibers remain strong, preventing atrophy
  • Maintaining joint flexibility and range of motion
  • Controlling body fat percentage at healthy levels
  • Optimizing self-reliance and emotional well-being



At the Atlanta Medical Clinic , we customize strategies to help each of our patients maintain a healthy lifestyle, stabilize injuries and illnesses, and trend steadily toward a positive physical future. These treatment protocols all attempt to prevent and reduce the need for invasive surgical procedures.  Combining naturally-based injections, physical therapy, and chiropractic philosophies, we craft an ideal multidisciplinary plan to achieve and sustain wellness, one patient at a time.

Five Things You Didn’t Know about Your Brain On Pain

We all experience pain, but how does it work? Why do we stub our toe or strain our back and feel it, almost immediately, in our mind? Of course we understand that the brain is the central processor of our nervous system, but the specifics of how pain is felt in the brain is more complex than you might imagine. Below are five aspects of the human pain system that you might not know, followed by an assessment of how pain management can provide pain relief.


1.  The brain does not provide the pain reflex.

Neural tissue within the spinal cord reacts to the pain and tells the involved part of the body to remove itself from the situation. It is an automatic reflex occurring without the brain’s involvement.


2.  Past pain matters.

Areas of the brain that previously experienced the pain are re-stimulated. This pain memory partially determines the body’s physical and emotional response. Additionally, pain is increased or decreased due to the memory information obtained. This applies both to chronic pain and re-injury. An example of pain that is often chronic is neuropathic pain.


3.  Two different pathways

There is not just one but two different ways in which pain reaches the brain:


a.  Fast pathway – sharp and immediate pain.

This route to the brain hooks into the thalamus. Then A-delta fibers transmit the signal to the cortex’s sensory and motor components. The fibers, which also send temperature information, are myelinated. The myelination speeds up the pain signal because its insulation focuses the transmission, because the action potential jumps from node to node along the fibers, and because depolarization allows the signal to travel with less energy.


b.  Slow pathway – dull and prolonged pain.

C-fibers, which are not myelinated, become activated when pH levels drop and certain chemicals are released. The C- fibers send an electrical impulse through the dorsal horn to the spinal cord. This pathway allows the brain awareness of an injury that has not healed, i.e. chronic pain. It keeps the body from conducting normal physical activity, reminding the brain of the damage.


4.  Emotional pain response

Emotional pain processes through the slower response system, the C-fibers. We tie certain emotions to the pain because it is such a continual aspect of our brain functioning. Emotions related to pain are mediated through the prefrontal cortex and limbic system.


5.  The involvement of nociceptors

Nociceptors, also called free nerve endings, are neural axon terminals that connect to the spinal nerve. The two types of nociceptors are the fibers discussed above in #1: A-delta fibers and C- fibers.


Pain Management – The Integrative Solution

Pain management seeks to provide alleviation for pain so that individuals can operate effectively and lead normal, active lives. Pain relief can help to treat any type of chronic pain, including neuropathic pain. Integrative pain management can involve the combination of injection based treatments and chiropractic manipulation. Atlanta Medical Clinic, through this integrative method, seeks to diagnose what is causing the pain (the part of the body affected and the central source of the problem) and then manage it via rehabilitation to stop the continuous or recurring pain cycle.

Achieving Pain Management Without Surgery

When most people think about pain management, the first thing that many people think of is having to go through surgery.  This can scare people away fropain-management-atlanta-gam wanting to alleviate their pain because not everyone has the time or money for surgery. Surgery isn’t always the only option a person can choose for dealing with their pain.

One alternative method to providing pain management is spinal decompression. Spinal decompression is when a person is strapped onto a mechanical traction device while forces from multiple directions are applied to the spine. This helps get rid of nerve compression by creating a suction effect. Spinal decompression requires no downtime or recovery.

Another option is for a client to attend physical therapy sessions. Sometimes finding pain relief is as simple as following a simple set of exercises that a doctor may recommend. There are several reasons why attending physical therapy are good for relieving pain:

  • Physical therapy stretches and strengthens the compromised area
  • Physical therapy helps retrain muscles
  • Physical therapy help a client regain control of the joint
  • Physical therapy restores balance

Another method for achieving nonsurgical pain management is cold laser therapy. Cold laser therapy is the use of a safely tuned laser to stimulate the body’s nerves, repair mechanisms and systemic defenses. The laser produces a low amount of energy, which is considered a weak stimulus. However there is a biological law, Arnt-Schultz, that states how a weak stimulus can actually cause a strong physiological response. Arnt-Schultz also states that a stronger stimuli can actually stop the body from responding.

With so many choices available for clients to achieve pain management without surgery, there is no reason that a person shouldn’t visit a doctor about treating their pain.

Providing Knee Pain Relief With Hyalgan Injections

knee pain relief atlanta gaThe human body produces sodium hyaluronate naturally to provide lubrication for the  joints. However, as a person gets older, the bodies ability to produce sodium hyaluronate begins to slow down, and this is where the painful symptoms of osteoarthritis begin to appear. Luckily there is an all-natural solution called Hyalgan that is injected into the knee to help lubicate the joints and  to treat osteoarthritis.

Hyalgan acts as a lubicant for the tissues, but since Hyalgan is highly viscous, it also acts as a protectant for the tissues. Due to it’s elasticity, Hyalgan is also able to absorb mechanical stress.  Many times, Hyalgan injections are the last resort before having to go into surgery. To get the most knee pain relief from this treatment, a patient should go through with physical therapy along with the injections. The physical therapy helps decrease the pain, while increasing the range of motion.

There have been many tests conducted to find just how effective Hyalgan injections are at providing knee pain relief.  The injections are covered by most insurance companies.

Using Spinal Decompression To Painlessly Eliminate Back Pain

Spinal Decompression Atlanta GaNo one wants to experience back pain. No one wants to experience a painful, time consuming surgery to treat their back pain either. People shouldn’t stress so much about the idea of receiving treatment for their back pain since there are several methods for alleviating the pain that require no surgery or injections at all. One such treatment is spinal decompression.

Spinal decompression, or more specifically non-surgical spinal decompression, is the reduction of intradiscal pressure by using a mechanical traction device that the client is strapped aboard. While strapped to the machine, forces are applied to the lumbar spine from various directions. This creates a suction effect that helps eliminate nerve compression while also helping bring water and nutrients into the disc. There is no pain, surgery or recovery time involved with spinal decompression.

When a person experiences back pain and other treatments (medicine, steroid shots, exercising, eating right) doesn’t help help alleviate the pain, they should really look into having spinal decompression. A person receiving spinal decompression treatments should stay committed to their treatment and make sure they follow all their doctors instructions to receive maximum pain relief.

Since there isn’t any painful surgery or recovery time involved with spinal decompression, there isn’t any reason a person should suffer from back pain without seeking treatment.

The VibroGym®: Successful Physical Therapy

Physical therapy has evolved; technology has allowed us, physicians, to work with our patients in an effective and responsible manner. It’s important to consider and determine an appropriate workout routine, using state-of-the-art equipment to avoid any further afflictions to the body. Here at Atlanta Medical Clinic, we provide many ways of treatment. One of them is the VibroGym®!

What is VibroGym®?

The VibroGym® uses whole-body vibration (WBV) to establish the body’s reflex response that enhances muscle strength and performance. The VibroGym® platform produces a vibration at different frequencies, which is then conveyed to the body.

The time needed to train is shorter, which means less muscle damage is caused and hormonal production is boost. Research shows that whole body vibration training offers many benefits such as the improvement of muscle strength, flexibility, range of motion, bone density and blood circulation stimulation.

This is achieved by two sessions of training on the VibroGym® achieved with minimal stress on the joints, tendon and ligaments. And it not only stimulates the neuromuscular and endocrine systems, but also improved fat metabolism.

Consequently, the VibroGym® significantly reduces the chance for potential injury normally present with conventional training methods.

Its physical therapy benefits are:

  • Significantly reduces the chance for potential injury normally present with conventional training methods.
  • No strain on joints – thanks to 100% vertical vibration.
  • Osteoporosis exercises ⇒ Increase of bone density.
  • Balance and coordination exercises aiming at fall prevention.
  • Improvement of bone density.
  • You experience hormone balance and reduced stress, so you feel more alert as well as relaxed.
  • Postoperative muscle building for a fast recovery.
  • Easy on your joints in case of rheumatism and osteoarthritis.
  • For a better workout quality and more effectiveness.
  • Strengthening of your entire muscular system.
  • Enhanced flexibility.
  • Stimulating metabolism and lymphatic drainage.
  • Stress relief.
  • Pelvic-floor exercises in case of urinary incontinence.
  • Back exercises.
  • Anti-cellulite exercises.
  • Increasing your muscular strength.
  • Improving your agility.
  • For a better blood circulation.

We offer our patients special workouts that are suited to their individual clinical picture or symptoms.
Please feel free to contact us, we will be happy to provide you with comprehensive advice.

Osgood-Schlatters Disease 101

osgood-schlatters-disease-reliefOsgood-Shlatters Disease is a common cause of knee pain and is known as an overuse injury. Typically, patients are children and young athletes between the ages 10 and 15 that are experiencing a period of rapid growth combined with a high level of sport activity. Young adolescents that participate in sports such as soccer, gymnastics, basketball, and dance are most at risk for this disease.

The pain from Osgood-Schlatters Disease is caused by inflammation of the tendon below the kneecap where it attaches to the shinbone. The inflamed area is almost always tender when pressure is applied.

Once diagnosed, the first and foremost treatment is aimed at reducing the swelling and inflammation. This includes anti-inflammatory medicine, knee wraps, and knee braces. Depending on severity, this may require several months rest in order for the child to enjoy physical activity without pain in the future.

It is always a good idea to check with a medical provider regarding any knee injury. Dr. Tim Dembowski is a trained medical practitioner that specializes in pain management. Dr. Dembowski and his staff at Atlanta Medical Clinic provide the best treatment options for knee pain and injuries, including Osgood-Schlatters. Further examination may also be suggested depending on the severity of the pain. Contact Dr. Dembowski and his staff today for more information on Osgood-Schlatters disease and other painful knee injuries.

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